As 2013 draws to a close, we took a look back at the year to find out which stories mattered most to you, our readers. From top travel advisors to cruising Europe, exotic destinations and the latest hotel openings, here is a look at the top stories from 2013.
Editorial director Ruthanne Terrero brought us this first-hand glimpse onto one of the most anticipated ships of the year. Take a look at her insider secrets on where to catch the best rays, sip the sexiest cocktail and discover other hidden gems on this luxury vessel.
A stop in Marseille, once a notoriously crime-ridden seaport, is a chance to indulge in some landlubber luxury and get a taste of the Provençal good life. Marseille has been a lively port city and cultural melting pot since the Greeks established a settlement here in 600 BC. Since the 2001 arrival of high-speed TGV service connecting Marseille to Paris in three hours, the city has shed its louche image. The docks have been cleaned up, and there’s a new tram system and a cutting-edge arts scene. Vibrant and colorful, Marseille now also channels a chic vibe, reflected by the opening of high-design hotels like the New Hotel of Marseille-Le Pharo and Villa Massalia. The city being named European Capital of Culture for 2013 is further proof of Marseille’s rebirth.
Mukul, a luxury boutique hotel and spa in Guacalito de la Isla, a new $250-million, 1,670-acre private beach community on Nicaragua’s Emerald Coast, opened in January. Mukul – which is the Mayan word for “secret” – has 37 accommodations, each with an ocean view, pool and private staff. Other resort amenities include Spa Mukul, with six private spa-treatment casitas; a beach club featuring dining and lounge areas and a swimming pool; and the 18-hole Guacalito Golf Course.
Ruthanne Terrero delves in with Jennifer Fox, president of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, to talk about the success of the brand and the changes it is putting in place to become even more relevant in the luxury world.
Get the lowdown on this luxury agency that is shaking up the old method of selling. Michael Holtz, owner and CEO of SmartFlyer, a Manhattan-based luxury agency, is all about social media and being on the cutting edge.
The 1,010-foot-high, 70-story tower is the tallest residential building in Riyadh, with 360-degree views of the surrounding area including the nearby King Abdullah Financial District. The 350-room Kempinski hotel will take up most of the first 23 stories of the hotel and has a six-level podium with 24 meeting rooms, a ballroom that can accommodate up to 2,000 guests, a spa area and external swimming pools, tennis courts and squash courts on the podium roof.
The Pearl opened this summer in Rosemary Beach on Florida’s Emerald Coast. Overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, the resort is a 55-room luxury resort, with almost all rooms featuring a private balcony, luxurious in-room spa products by skincare expert Kerstin Florian, a refrigerator stocked with Nordaq FRESH water and juices, and a Keurig Coffee & Tea Brewing System, as well as complimentary valet parking for overnight guests.
Ruthanne Terrero holds a roundtable at The Chatwal, New York, during which a panel of industry experts discuss the luxury consumer and what they are looking for in travel.
At the start of 2013 we rounded up five top trends in luxury travel. How did they shake out over the course of the year?
Over 2012, the rumor mills had been churning about a possible sale of Amanresorts. India's DLF Ltd. acquired the ultra-luxury hotel chain about five years ago, and, since 2010, has been looking for ways to lower its large debt burden. The Wall Street Journal reports that a deal was clinched in December, 2012; the brand was sold “back to founder and chairman Adrian Zecha for an enterprise value of about $300 million.” The deal excluded the swanky Aman hotel in New Delhi, which has been rebranded as The Lodhi.